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What to do with Pumpkin: Ways to Use Your Pumpkin Other Than Making Pie

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Pumpkins are incredibly rich in vitamins and nutrients, yet most people carve them for Halloween and then discard them. A member of the gourd family, this hardy fall icon offers many health benefits. Almost fat free, pumpkins are low in calories, high in antioxidants, and may boost your immune system.

There are many pumpkin uses beyond making your favorite pie or carving them up for Halloween, so don’t overlook an ingredient that could play a delicious and nutritious role in your cooking this fall.

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with a pumpkin after Halloween, follow our guide to find out more ways to use them.

 

11 Pumpkin Uses

Before exploring the many pumpkin uses that follow carving them, let’s consider ways to decorate with pumpkins before you cut. A carved pumpkin lasts just a few days before it spoils. But if kept cool, an uncarved pumpkin continues to look its best for months without compromising the quality of the flesh within.

So, why not get more pumpkin-decorating bang for your buck before you turn it into a delicious dish? As a bonus, this will help make your holidays more eco-friendly, too.

 

1. Find a local drop-off site

You can donate raw pumpkins to your local wildlife organizations, animal shelters, farms, or community gardens if you haven't cut, painted, or treated them. They'll appreciate compost material or snacks for their animals. You may find that your town does a pumpkin collection drive after Halloween, or that some farms ask for donations of pumpkins. Take a look at social media pages for your community to find drop-off sites. It's a great way to support local animal organizations and prevent pumpkins from going to landfills.

2. Pumpkin for Healthy Skin

As much as you may love to use pumpkin for edible treats, save some for your complexion. Rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E, pumpkin makes a nourishing facial mask. Add a small splash of milk to about five teaspoons of pumpkin puree. Then add three teaspoons of brown sugar for gentle exfoliation. Stir well, and apply to your freshly washed face in small, circular motions while avoiding the area around your eyes. Relax for 20 minutes, then rinse it away, revealing softer, healthier skin.

 

3. Crunchy, Nutty, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Want to know what to do with pumpkin seeds leftover from the puree recipe? Roast them! Pumpkin seeds make a tasty, nutritious, and low-cal snack. First, boil the seeds in salt water to let the flavor work its way inside the shells. Then, dry the seeds, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees F. The pumpkin seeds are ready when they turn light brown. Large seeds (from bigger pumpkins) will take roughly 20 minutes and are best shelled before eating, while small pumpkin seeds roast in about 5 minutes and can be eaten whole, shells and all.

 

4. Simple Pumpkin Purée

This pumpkin use is the delicious prelude to many pumpkin recipes. Simply set the oven to 350 degrees F, cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and guts. Then, set them aside to clean and toast the seeds later. Next, place the pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water. Bake for 60-90 minutes or until the flesh is soft. From here, scoop out the soft pumpkin flesh, toss it into your food processor or blender and pulse until it is smooth.

 

5. Succulent-Topped Pumpkins

A chic pumpkin use that lights up social media is the succulent-topped pumpkin. Princess pumpkins or any that are wider than they are tall are ideal for this simple craft.

First, glue a handful of dried sphagnum moss to the top of your pumpkin. Next, nestle a variety of succulent cuttings into the moss and glue it into place. Hot glue works perfectly and harms neither the succulents nor the pumpkin. Then, mist the moss with water twice a week. The succulent cuttings will root into the moss and can happily grow there for months at a time before the pumpkin spoils. Then, simply remove the succulents and moss, and plant the succulents before discarding the pumpkin. Better yet, transplant the succulents after a couple of months so you can use the pumpkin flesh while it’s still fresh.

 

6. Hot Pumpkin Soup

Use pumpkin purée to make a pot of nourishing pumpkin soup. Add chopped onion or shallots, garlic, chicken or vegetable broth, and heavy cream for a delicious, warming soup. Garnish with sour cream and the toasted pumpkin seeds.

 

7. Pumpkin Cup o’ Joe

If one of your favorite pumpkin uses is in a pumpkin-spiced latte, try making your own twist at home. Stir in a dollop of pumpkin puree with some cream, honey, and a dash of cinnamon into your coffee for homemade pumpkin-spiced yumminess.

 

8. Pumpkin Bagel Spread

Try blending pumpkin purée with butter for a tasty bagel spread. Add brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg for a healthy breakfast treat that’s a little different.

 

9. Pumpkin Pasta

Ravioli stuffing is one of the most delicious and comforting pumpkin uses. What’s more, any recipe for summer squash ravioli can only be made even better with pumpkin in place of the squash. Served with sage and brown butter, pumpkin ravioli will elevate your fall cuisine repertory and impress your family and dinner guests.

 

10. Autumnal Decorations and Thanksgiving

Full-sized and miniature pumpkins make simple yet elegant seasonal décor. Use the pumpkins whole and add walnuts and hazelnuts in the shell, and pillar candles in ivory, yellow and orange. Loosely cluster them on your mantle or use the grouping as a festive tablescape. For even more flair, consider using both white and orange pumpkins.

You can also use pumpkins from Halloween if you draw their spooky faces with a thick felt tip pen instead of cutting out the shapes. Just position the pumpkins toward the wall on the mantle or sideboard, so the faces don’t show during your Thanksgiving feast.

 

11. Gastrointestinal Balance for the Entire Family

One of the best uses for pumpkin flesh is to settle upset tummies and balance gastrointestinal systems for every member of the family, including cats and dogs. Frozen pumpkin chunks are a terrific treat for dogs, while cats will accept a small bit of pumpkin puree mixed into wet food. As for the human family members, stir pumpkin into baby food for little ones or whip up a delicious and soothing batch of pumpkin soup for both kids and adults.

With these eleven pumpkin uses in mind, you can make them a bigger and more delicious part of the season for your family. They’re not just for jack-o'-lanterns and pie anymore. Enjoy a beautiful autumn and a safe (and tasty) holiday season. And while you’re at it, consider checking your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, so the only surprises this fall come from your creative use of pumpkins.

 

 

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